Antidotes to Stress and Burnout

By Mary Beth Braun
[Savvy Self-Care]

We live in a world where chaos, 24-7 connectivity, and constant motion are realities of daily life. As a result, we are often in a continual state of stress. You offer one stress-relief key—giving bodywork—and your clients love you for it. But, it is important to be mindful that you, too, are subject to the hurricane that is life and that self-care is also critical for you as a caregiver. 

Staying calm and being fully present in the therapy room, while expending emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual energy, becomes a delicate balance. Ultimately, it is critical for you to create energy reserves. Without consistent cultivation of your renewal, you may find the scales tipped in favor of depletion and burnout, leaving you less able to fully address the needs of your clients. 

Recognizing signs of depletion and burnout should be your immediate indication that more self-care is needed. Your triage is a combination of peace (renewing your spirit through inner peace and calm), love (gaining emotional support and cultivating self-compassion), and energy (creating physical and mental renewal). Following are some ways to do just that, regardless of how much time you have to spend (see page 47).


Make a phone call to a loved one. Reaching out and gaining emotional support from those you care about is a strong defense against burnout.


Breathe deeply.Breathing is the ultimate reset button for your body and mind.


Have a glass of water. Although easily forgotten as a source of mental clarity and energy, simply drinking more water can help.


Get a cup of coffee with a friend. Dedicate time to the encouraging and inspiring people in your life.


Schedule your own bodywork session.Practice what you preach. Renew your spirit and find inner peace and calm.


Do a daily evaluation of your stress and energy levels. Once you know where you are, you can create a plan for the day to increase and sustain your optimal energy.


Schedule a weekend getaway or vacation. Whether you’ve got two days or two weeks, clicking the “off” button is a critical tool in cultivating physical and mental renewal.


Get enough sleep.Figure out how much you need and work that into your plan.


If you notice you are experiencing any signs of burnout, including feeling overwhelmed, being easily irritated, sleeping too much or too little, and lacking interest in work, take immediate action to counteract them. Always remember that you are your best caretaker. 


  Mary Beth Braun owns, and is the chief massage therapist at, One Body Therapeutic Massage in Indianapolis, Indiana. She is also a life and health coach, and coauthor of Introduction to Massage Therapy with Stephanie Simonson (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2007). Contact her at